Pressure Grows on UAE to Release Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor Six Months on from his Arrest
Today marks six months since the arrest of the prominent Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor who is currently being held in solitary confinement in the UAE and has so far been denied access to a lawyer by Emirati authorities.
Despite increasingly loud calls from various sections of the international community to do so, the UAE authorities have so far shown little sign that they intend to release the human rights activist.
Mansoor was arrested by UAE authorities on 20 March after 12 plain-clothed Emirati security officials stormed his family home in Abu Dhabi and took him to an unknown location, in an act described by UN human rights experts as a “direct attack” on human rights defenders everywhere.
The prominent rights activist has since been transferred to Al-Sadr prison where he is being held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer as Emirati authorities investigate him on charges of “promoting false and shaded information through the internet and serving agendas aimed at spreading hatred and sectarianism”.
Ahmed Mansoor is an internationally renowned human rights activist with a long and prominent history of speaking out in favour of rights for people in the UAE. He has worked extensively with international rights organisations to raise awareness of human rights violations in the United Arab Emirates. He is a member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and has a seat on the advisory committee at Human Rights Watch. In 2015, he won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders.
Mansoor's arrest has been heavily condemned by various international bodies and organisations. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and, along with Human Rights Watch, have launched international campaigns calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
As well as this, a coalition of notable figures and organisations released a joint letter earlier this year calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Emirati human rights defender. The letter was signed by a number of academics, lawyers, authors and MPs, such as the American linguist and philosopher, Noam Chomsky, British barrister, Michael Mansfield QC, the co leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP, and UAE torture survivor David Haigh.
Later on today, at 8PM UAE time, a group of human rights organisations such as EnglishPen, Amnesty International and ICFUAE are set to launch a “Twitterstorm” on social media whereby a series of Tweets demanding the release of Mansoor will be synchronised and coordinated across social media site Twitter.
However, the call to release Mansoor has so far not extended to the British government who, despite being called on to do so, have yet to put any substantive pressure on the Emirati authorities to release the human rights defender.
The continued detention of Ahmed Mansoor is in violation of international law which guarantees the right to freedom of speech and assembly as well as the right to counsel in the case of arrest. In light of this, it is imperative that governments and international bodies around the world exercise more pressure on the Emirati authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mansoor in line with internationally recognised legal standards.
- For more information or press queries, please contact the ICFUAE team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +447979666698
- For the Amnesty International's campaign, please see https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2017/03/release-emirati-human-rights-defender-ahmed-mansoor/